September 28, 2018 — A jury in Montana ordered the Jehovah’s Witnesses to pay $35 million to a woman who said the church covered up her sexual abuse at the hands of a congregation member.
The lawsuit was filed by attorney Neil Smith along with Washington, D.C.-based Schmidt & Clark, LLP.
The Montana lawsuit is one of dozens nationwide accusing Jehovah’s Witnesses of covering up the sexual abuse of children.
The $35 million ruling involved 2 women in Montana who claim they were sexually abused by a family member in the 1990s and 2000s.
The women reported the abuse to church elders, who expelled the abuser from the congregation in 2004 after consulting with the national organization. The abuser was never reported to outside authorities in violation of Montana law. Instead, the abuser was reinstated in the church in 2005, and the sexual abuse of the 21 year-old girl continued.
According to Neil Smith, attorney for the girls:
“Their national headquarters, called Watchtower, they control when and if anyone within their organization reports child abuse. Watchtower instructed everyone involved that they were not to report the matter to authorities.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses and Child Sex Abuse
In recent years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have faced multiple scandals involving the sexual abuse of children in their congregations. As a result, the church has had to develop child protection policies.
Unfortunately, several lawsuits accuse Jehovah Witnesses of repeatedly mismanaging or covering up for child molesters, allowing the abuses to continue.
The plaintiffs claim they were sexually abused by church elders or congregation members — and church elders knew about the abuse, failed to report it to the police, and allowed sexual predators to remain in the church or retain positions of power.
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All inquiries are 100% confidential. We protect the rights of each of our clients, including their right to privacy. If you file a lawsuit, California law allows victims of sexual abuse to file lawsuits under a pseudonym. California also allows out-of-state residents to file lawsuits in state courts, and a lack of U.S. citizenship is not a barrier.
Do I have a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting sexual abuse induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been sexually abused by a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Sexual Abuse Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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